Veterinary Summer Research Fellowship provides ‘clarity’ for students considering research

Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine is now accepting applications for a 10-to-12-week paid summer research fellowship designed to provide research opportunities to aspiring veterinarians.

The Veterinary Summer Research Fellowship Program is available for up to a dozen veterinary students in their first or second year of WSU’s veterinary program. Fellows train under the mentorship of a faculty member and will receive monthly compensation throughout the entirety of the program.

Students also have the chance to present their research at the National Veterinary Scholars Symposium from Aug. 8-10 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and at the college’s annual Research Symposium in the fall.

“The experience gave me a lot of clarity,” said second-year veterinary student Ammasie Allred. “I’ve always liked the idea of research, and after enrolling in the program, I could actually see more of what a career in research might look like.”

Allred was mentored by Dr. Michela Ciccarelli. In her research, Allred examined an evolutionary conserved gene in cattle that has been linked to sperm maturation, motility and morphology in mice. Her research set out to identify variation within the gene and to possibly determine the gene’s function in cattle.

“My project was going through isolating the coding regions of this gene for each of these bulls and then sequencing the gene to determine if there are any mutations. By sequencing, we’re just seeing what the changes are in this gene. What’s the normal variation in the gene? And from that, then we can start adding in bulls that are having fertility issues and finding if they have abnormalities in this gene,” Allred said. 

The findings will help produce a reference database for the gene.

Other student-led research projects ranged from working with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to analyze the seroprevalence of influenza A in raptors to the effects of supplementing branched-chain amino acids in calves and inhaled corticosteroid effects on equine asthma.

Second-year veterinary student Maya Boyle conducted her research in Professor Ryan Driskell’s lab in the School of Molecular Biosciences. The Driskell lab focuses on skin regeneration and aging. 

“This is an area I am extremely interested in due to its practical application in veterinary medicine, whether regarding treatment of abrasions, cuts, burns or surgical incisions,” Boyle said.

Boyle’s research goal was to adapt a reproducible fetal wounding surgical protocol to study the regenerative ability of fetal skin across different time points in development.

She also sought to confirm if there is a time point during murine embryogenesis at which regenerative ability is lost leading to scar formation.

“The work required me to think critically to answer questions and design an experiment in which I was able to provide answers to those questions,” Boyle said. “The project also gave me the opportunity to work on microsurgical techniques I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to develop, which improved my surgical confidence.”

Apply to the Summer Research Fellowship Program before the Feb. 6 deadline by contacting program administrative manager Carolyn Emerson at

For more information and application requirements visit this page our college’s internal site. (requires login)